Over the last few years, I have been working with local campaigners to tackle anti-social behaviour associated with party flats. These flats are residential properties rented out for a short period of time – often to large groups such as stag and hen parties over weekends.
This has caused an unbearable level of stress for residents of neighbouring properties who have frequently reported extreme cases of noise disruption, concerns over safety and damage to common property.
Time and again, the Council have told me that they don’t consider party flats to constitute a change of use to a property and as a result, operators don’t have to apply for planning permission.
However, Glasgow City Council have introduced regulations which could hold the key to addressing Edinburgh’s problem.
Glasgow’s policy aims to ensure that residents are not adversely affected by creating a presumption against granting planning permission for short term accommodation where a property is within existing blocks of residential flats.
The policy highlights acute problems including noise, over-crowding and lack of care for common areas – precisely the problems people in Edinburgh are being forced to live with.
I know councillors are sympathetic towards the plight of residents and I want to turn that to action by following Glasgow’s example. I have lodged a motion in Parliament which I hope will be debated to highlight this important issue.
By requiring operators to seek planning permission, residents would be given the opportunity to have their say on how these businesses impact on their day to day lives.
I have written to the Council to ask them to look at the Glasgow policy and to ask them to consider following its example to protect residents from party flats.